This article was published on July 19, 2013 and information contained within may now be out of date.
With a Met Office warning of a 60% likelihood of a heatwave in Lincolnshire in recent days, a Lincoln charity is urging residents to remember to check on elderly neighbours or relatives.
A regular phone call or visit to a neighbour or relative can ensure they spend the hotter parts of the day in comfort and safety and minimises the risk of heat exhaustion.
Rosie Davidson, Age UK Lincoln
Rosie Davidson, Manager of Age UK Lincoln’s Park Street Centre, wants people to be aware of the risks of high temperatures to older and more vulnerable people. “Just as in the freezing conditions of winter, a heatwave can be dangerous to older people, especially for the vast amount of people that are living alone,” she said.
“A regular phone call or visit to a neighbour or relative can ensure they spend the hotter parts of the day in comfort and safety and minimises the risk of heat exhaustion.”
Older people with breathing or heart problems may find that their symptoms worsen during hot weather and many don’t recognise feelings of thirst as easily.
Likewise, some older people may be concerned about having windows open. However, having a couple of windows open in the hottest parts of the day, and closed in the cooler hours, when in the garden or when sleeping, can help to reduce the risk of heat related illness.
“Having windows open only when it is safe to do so, and giving a quick check up on the security of the house a few times a day, can alleviate these concerns and ensure much more comfortable conditions,” Rosie said.
“Make sure that they have contacted their GP or NHS 111 if worried about their health, and that they have plenty of liquids on hand to stay hydrated. Loose clothing is advisable, as is an open window and closed curtains or blinds, to keep the house cool.”
For the East Midlands, the Met Office describes a heatwave as being 30C in the day and 15C at night for two or more consecutive days. These are levels of heat that, if sustained, are seen as potentially damaging to health.